“Since gifted children are so smart, they can succeed without help”.
This is just one of the many myths surrounding gifted children. You’d be surprised by the number of mistaken and prejudiced views that still exist today about intellectually gifted children and their needs.
So let’s take a look at some of these myths and misconceptions and tackle them one by one:
Myth 1: Since gifted children are already so smart, they can surely succeed without help.
Ironically, it’s the opposite that is true.
According to an article in Psychology Today, giftedness does not guarantee success; in fact, the world is full of gifted failures (Taylor, 2009, para. 1).
Firstly, if your gifted child achieves success at an early age, and is not taught to work hard for his success, he will not be able to connect effort with outcome, and thus cannot take pride in his success. He may also develop the mistaken and dangerous belief that he will always succeed in the future without putting in effort (Taylor, 2009, para. 3).
Talented athletes still need proper coaching to maximize their potential. Joseph Schooling showed great aptitude for swimming. But he would not have won the Olympic goal if he hadn’t trained with skilled coaches.
In the same way, your gifted child will need guidance from well-trained teachers who can challenge and support him to fully develop his abilities.
If your gifted child is not coached and guided in the principles of hard work, patience and discipline, he will be in for a rude shock later on in life when he reaches a level of learning where everyone in his class is equally gifted (for example, in an Ivy League University or an advanced research programme). At this point, he will find his giftedness is no longer sufficient to be successful. What separates a child who is gifted from another who is gifted and successful is whether he possesses the perseverance and disciplinary skills to maximize his gifts (Taylor, 2009, para. 5 & 6).
A gifted student who does not receive proper guidance can get bored, frustrated and develop poor discipline and study habits.
Myth 2; All children are gifted
All children are gifts but not all children are gifted in an intellectual sense. Most will be on the same level academically as their peers. To be considered intellectually gifted, your child will have to have the advanced capability to learn and then apply what she knows at a level way beyond her years.
This advanced capacity requires modifications to the regular curriculum to ensure she is challenged in education and gets to learn new material at a pace that will match her ability. Gifted does not imply good or better; it is a term that allows students to be identified for educational programmes that meet their unique learning needs.
In the next blog post, we will discuss on more myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about gifted kids. Subscribe to our mailing list for more blogs about gifted education!